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    Two New Cabinet-Level Appointments
    Posted on 12/17/2020

    Two New Cabinet-Level Appointments

    On December 11, 2020, Superintendent Denise Juneau announced two new cabinet-level leadership appointments. Dr. Keisha Scarlett will take the helm as the new chief academic officer and will oversee the district's Teaching and Learning Division. James Bush will lead the district's Equity, Partnerships, and Engagement (EPE) Division.

    Dr. Scarlett and Bush have shown immense leadership and commitment to Seattle Public Schools students, families, and staff in their current roles and time with SPS.

    Dr. Scarlett currently serves as the SPS Chief of Equity, Partnerships, and Engagement. She begins her new position on January 9, 2021, replacing Dr. Diane DeBacker who is leaving SPS on January 8, 2021 to return to her home state of Kansas.

    As the chief academic officer, Dr. Scarlett will lead Curriculum, Assessment, and Instruction, College and Career Readiness, Digital Learning, Early Learning, ELL/International Programs, Native Education, and Research and Evaluation.

    First and foremost, SPS is an institution of learning and Dr. Scarlett's leadership will shape the very heart of the district's work with a laser focus on equity and supporting students furthest from educational justice.

    Bush will replace Dr. Scarlett as chief of equity, partnerships, and engagement (EPE) on January 9, 2021 after serving as the SPS executive director of school and community partnerships for the past four years.

    As the chief of equity, partnerships, and engagement, Bush will oversee three departments: Racial Equity Advancement, Stakeholder Engagement, and School and Community Partnerships.

    The division supports key work in the district's five-year strategic plan, including changing broken systems and undoing legacies of racism in public education and fostering inclusive and authentic engagement with families and students.

    Dr. Keisha Scarlett, Chief Academic Officer

    Keisha ScarlettDr. Scarlett is a multigenerational resident of Seattle and an SPS graduate. Her vast educational leadership experiences range from her early career in STEM at Boeing, to her work as a STEM teacher at Asa Mercer Middle School; principal of South Shore PK-8, human resources director, and current position as the chief of Equity, Partnerships, and Engagement Division.

    Dr. Scarlett has dedicated her career to advocating for and creating academic opportunities and environments that tap into the inherent brilliance of students, particularly those furthest from educational justice. She is on a mission to normalize Black Excellence and to eliminate opportunity gaps – the gap between inferior opportunities and superior opportunities.

    She pushes the system to do better and be better for young people. Dr. Keisha Scarlett recently served on a committee for the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) and co-authored their report "Reopening K-12 Schools During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Prioritizing Health, Equity, and Communities" released July 2020.

    Dr. Scarlett holds a doctorate degree in education leadership and policy studies from the University of Washington.

    James Bush, Chief of Equity, Partnerships, and Engagement

    Photo of James BushFor over two decades, Bush has served our ethnically and linguistically diverse students, their families, and our schools in various roles within and external to SPS.

    For the past four years, Bush has served as the SPS executive director of school and community partnerships. Under his leadership, the district secured $130 million in City Families, Education, Preschool, and Promise grants supporting 30 schools through 2026; opened 18 emergency childcare sites in Spring 2020, and 47 childcare centers in the 2020-21 school year – serving 2,000 students daily; built institutional alignment between SPS and low-income housing partners – leveraging cross-organizational expertise to reach and support students furthest away from educational opportunities; and developed a variety of data resources to support partner organizations in tracking, monitoring, and supporting SPS students.

    Prior to joining SPS, Bush served as the neighborhood programs manager at the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods where he managed a variety of community building programs. He also served as a key leader in the City of Seattle Race and Social Justice Initiative for three city of Seattle mayors. A Seattle native, Bush grew up in Seattle's Rainier Beach neighborhood. He attended the University of Washington where he earned a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's in public administration from the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance.